Springing Into Action
For the spring holidays, EROS and WC Pride coordinated a trip to Baltimore, where participants learned about the nutritional needs of people who struggle with poverty and debilitating disease. On Easter morning, EROS volunteers arrived at the Baltimore headquarters of Moveable Feast (MF), an organization that delivers medically-nutritious meals to people—including many LGBT clients—living with HIV/AIDS, breast cancer, and other life-challenging conditions.
“I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I signed up to volunteer,” said Gabrielle James ’13. “I just thought that it was going to be a fun day with my friends helping people out.” Little did she realize that the fun would include some serious hands-on work. Over four hours, the students helped prepare and package nearly 2,000 meals.
EROS (Encouraging Respect of Sexuality) is WC’s alliance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students and their allies. The group’s mission is to raise awareness, promote acceptance, and get the campus active in the fight for social justice. EROS is open to people of any and all sexualities and genders, and it regularly sponsors demonstrations and awareness-raising activities, including annual events like Drag Ball and Day of Silence.
“The group did great,” said MF’s Assistant Kitchen Manager Chris Lodwick, whose daughter Anna graduated from Washington College in 2007. “We don’t usually get this much done in a day. Everyone did really great work.”
MF’s meals address clients’ specific nutritional needs, including special needs associated with diabetes and renal failure. MF provides 1,300 meals per day to clients in Baltimore, central Maryland, and throughout the Eastern Shore, including Chestertown.
“It was such a surprise to me that many of us had never heard of [Moveable Feast] before,” said EROS Alliance Co-President Chris Miller ’14. “They have helped thousands of people in the state where I was raised, and it was truly a great feeling to be able to give a little back.”
Each year 3,400 volunteers provide more than 57,000 hours of service to Moveable Feast. Volunteers assist in such areas as meal preparation and delivery, administrative support, and funding and resource development.
“My experience with Moveable Feast was an eye-opening, beneficial one and the perfect way to spend Easter Sunday,” said Kim Zepeda ’13. “To say what Moveable Feast does is amazing would be an understatement.”
MF Volunteer Manager Tom Patrick provided students with an information session. Patrick described MF’s many services, including nutritional counseling, culinary arts and life-skills training, and medical appointment transport, in addition to meal delivery.
“If any of you are cyclists, you should join our Ride for the Feast fundraiser from May 10 to 12. It goes from Ocean City to Baltimore, and most of the route is on the Eastern Shore,” Patrick told the students. “We would also love to have Chestertown restaurants participate in Dining Out for Life in September. And we are also looking for a drop-off location to serve our clients in Chestertown and Rock Hall.”
WC’s Student Government Association, the EROS Club and participating volunteers funded the trip to Baltimore. Washington College Pride (WC’s LGBT alumni group) facilitated the day’s activities.
“I am so proud that my friends and I were able to do a small part for this amazing organization,” summed up James, echoing the sentiments of many EROS members. “I hope that in the future we will continue to volunteer for Moveable Feast.”